Mask requirement for East Baton Rouge begins Friday; mayor clarifies guidelines
BATON ROUGE - EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome signed an order Wednesday requiring masks in the parish, particularly inside businesses.
The mask mandate applies to businesses in the city limits of Baton Rouge and the unincorporated areas. Thursday, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said it would respond to complaints in the unincorporated areas.
The cities of Baker, Zachary and Central are excluded.
Mayor Broome says the Baton Rouge Police Department will be in charge of enforcing the mandate beginning Friday, July 3, to give businesses time to comply. The order will last through August 3, 2020.
"The executive order requires, at minimum, that all employees and visitors wear face coverings when in an area or while performing an activity which will involve close contact or proximity with the public. The 'No Mask - No Service' Policy must be posted near all entrances, and in clear view of any employees or members of the public entering the business," Mayor Broome announced Wednesday.
"Yes, it's enforceable," attorney Mary Olive Pierson said. "The mayor has the authority, the governor has the authority to issue orders for the public health and safety of the community they govern. That's what the mayor has done."
The mayor-president made the announcement during a news conference about 90 minutes before a briefing from the governor. The decision comes amid an increase in coronavirus cases statewide.
Hours after Broome announced the mandate, the mayors of Central and Zachary said they would not enforce the mask requirement. In a news release Wednesday evening, Mayor Broome clarified the order would exclude the cities of Zachary, Central, and Baker.
Local leaders in some Louisiana areas have ordered citizens to wear masks. There has been a growing number of places with similar mandates, although state leaders here have suggested mask laws are tough to enforce.
Plans for enforcing the order in EBR can be found below.
SECTION 6. Enforcement and or Mechanics
A. The City of Baton Rouge Fire Department is authorized to enforce this order as follows:
i. Upon the report of a first violation and visit by the Baton Rouge Fire Department, a courtesy notification will be issued.
ii. Upon the report of a second violation and visit by the Baton Rouge Fire Department, a documented warning will be issued.
iii. Upon the report of a third violation, the business will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency for issuance of a summons.
B. The Baton Rouge Police Department is authorized to enforce this order as follows:
i. Upon the report of a first violation and visit by the Baton Rouge Police Department, a courtesy notification will be issued.
ii. Upon the report of a second violation and visit by the Baton Rouge Police Department, a documented warning will be issued.
iii. Upon the report of a third violation, the business will be issued a summons for violation under Municipal Ordinance Section 15:5.
The order states that anyone above the age of two should wear some sort of face-covering that "fits snugly" over the nose and mouth at all times while inside of any commercial and nonprofit entities. The only exceptions are listed below:
- When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk due to a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability; federal, state, or local workplace safety regulations; or other increased safety risks to the person;
- When visibility of the mouth is necessary for communication by or with a person who is hearing impaired;
- When the person is eating or drinking at a restaurant, coffee shop, dining area, food court, bar, or nightclub;
- When the person is at a gym or fitness center, however, a face-covering must be worn upon entering and exiting gyms or other fitness or recreational facilities;
- When temporary removal of the face-covering is required to receive a service involving the area of the nose or mouth authorized by this Order or the Governor's Order; or
- When a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
Click HERE to see the executive order.